“I didn’t ask for you to feel the way you do. You’re influenced by an illusion. Writers are magicians. They write down words, and, if they’re good, you believe that what they write is real, just as you believe a good magician has pulled the coins out of your ear, or made his assistant disappear.”
– J.D. Salinger, from the novel, Shoeless Joe, by W. P. Kinsella
Spring is magic. As the cold days of winter begin to melt away and the mystery of springtime returns; what had appeared to be dead comes back to life.
In the same way stories are magic. A story gives life to people and things that never existed. It’s an act of creation, a reflection God.
Also, for me, springtime is special because it’s the beginning of Baseball season.
As it happens I’m not a sports fan. I’m not really even a baseball fan. Having grown up in Los Angeles, I am simply a Dodger fan. There just isn’t enough time in my life to devote to more than one sport, or even more that one team. But I am also a reader of books; lover of books. Though I don’t follow much baseball, other than the Dodgers, I enjoy good stories. Thus every spring, I read a book with a baseball theme. Right now I happen to be rereading Shoeless Joe, by W. P. Kinsella. Last year I read The Art of Fielding by Chad Harbach.
One baseball themed book from a past spring was George Will’s Men at Work. Another book, Sermon on the Mound, was written by a friend of mine, Michael O’Connor. That book in part, explores Michael’s thoughts about how baseball was actually invented by God, because as Michael sees baseball, it’s the perfect game.
Actually, every time of year for me holds some kind of enchantment. Summer, Fall and Winter have their own unique power that make each extraordinary. And most every book I read contains a kind of magical spell for me, something to discover or learn or is simply a trip to another place or opportunity to meet a character, from history or from someone’s imagination.
Shoeless Joe is a favorite book. Along with the fantasy element in the book, which I think comes off brilliantly; there is the father and son story which is always a significant theme for me personally.
I suppose I’ve been rambling on, not really clear on where I want to go with this post. Maybe I just want to express something about the newness of spring, the memories that come with baseball, the life that is breathed into characters in books, and the magic that seems to be a part of each.
And I guess I was thinking of how often a writer will have insights, and a way of expressing a thought, that connects with a reader – that is magical. As where Doc Graham in Shoeless Joe says, “Hardly anybody recognizes the most significant moments of their life at the time they happen.” That’s true, I think. Especially now days, we are so busy, we miss so much.
I just want to slow down and learn how to better appreciate the mysterious and delightful moments in life. Springtime helps me remember again there can always be fresh beginnings; that new things are again in store for those who are looking.
Here is my special version of an Irish Blessing:
May you experience anew the sweet smell of spring flowers
May you always have a good book kept close to your vest
May your favorite baseball team be blessed this new season
So long as your team is not in the National League West